Thursday, February 8, 2018

Wild Foods! – Banana Flowers

(This is an old post from our current website, we are placing it here as a backup just in case anything goes wrong with the site in the future. But if you seeing this for the first time here on this blogspot, read it as if it was written just a short time ago :)

Written July 4th, 2016

Living here in Costa Rica, we have seen, experienced, and learned a lot of things
that never would have happened elsewhere. Not only that, but the amazing blessing
it has been to be around all the sights, sounds, and the beautiful colors of His Creation,
everything so amazing just as YHWH made it.

But while living on the mountains of Costa Rica has been an amazing blessing,
it also presents some challenges. Whether it is the many problems with the road,
the car breaking down, or when it rains for days on end, there are times when it
has been difficult if not impossible to go down to the closest store over an hour away.
There have been times where we have not been able to go out for weeks, and while
the staple foods like rice, beans, eggs, milk, and bananas almost never run out,
there are times when anything else becomes scarce.

But during our years here, we have learned that there are things around the farm
that we never considered that could actually be used to eat! From sweet potato and
yuca leaves, to hibiscus flowers, and now the newest item on our plates, Banana Flowers!

“Common in South-East Asian cuisine, banana blossoms (aka banana flower or banana heart) are tear-shaped maroon or purplish flowers hanging at the end of banana clusters.
They can be eaten raw or cooked and are used primarily in salads, curries or soups…
Banana flowers are commonly used as vegetables for cooking in countries such as
Laos, India, Thailand, China, Burma, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam… Eaten straight
off the cutting board, they are starchy and bitter. But once soaked in a lemon juice/water
mixture for half hour then rinsed, they are leek-like, both in substance (thin with a
slight crunch) and taste (delicate).”

And as with most of these new items on our menu, there are some great health benefits
that we didn’t know about! Banana flowers are high in vitamins A and C and have
modest amounts of calcium and iron, and are also used in parts of Asia as a
remedy to alleviate the pain from menstrual cramps.

The tough reddish leaves on the exterior are known as bracts. They are normally
thrown out, but there are places where people use them as serving plates.
Beneath these ‘bracts’ leaves a row of delicate yellow-tipped florets that can be removed
and immediately soaked in acidic water to avoid discoloration and bitterness.
The intermediary leaves, that will be pale pinkish in color, are edible and tender.
While we did not use them in what we made, they can be eaten as well.

The colorful florets are eventually ‘soon to be bananas’ and are part of a tedious
cleaning process: pluck the matchstick-shaped pistil (tough and not pleasant to consume)
and the scale-like outermost petal (aka calyx). You have to do this for every floret.
The cleaned florets need to be put in acidic water immediately for several hours
or overnight to prevent browning to remove the bitterness.

It is best to put some cooking oil on your hands when cleaning them, that way the
sticky black sap from the flower and the florets does not get overly stuck on
your hands, as it shows in Tammy’s fingernails.

Regarding the taste, these florets (if not soaked in acidic or salted water) will leave a bitterness on your tongue if eaten raw (or if you are just curious). Once they are soaked & rinsed
for awhile and cooked, they won’t be as quite bitter, yet tender. They are commonly used in Southern Indian cuisine such as fritters, stir-fries, or fried dishes.

As you peel away the dark bracts you will reach a white or pale-colored heart
once the leaves become too small to peel. Once that is reached, you cut the end off.

Now, there are several ways to use Banana Flowers, but the main way is by stir-frying
it with other vegetables. So to use the flower for the stir-fry, it needs to be thinly sliced,
and then immediately immersed in acidic water(we used lemon and water). We then
let it set for about half an hour to get rid of most of the sap and bitterness, as well
as to prevent it from turning brown quite as quickly, although it can be set for
anywhere from 2 hours to overnight.

For our stir-fry we added onions, garlic, sweet peppers and green beans with the
sliced banana flowers, added soy sauce, salt, and seasonings, and cooked it until it was soft. Then we served it with Plantain Fries and fried eggs, and “voila”, a very yummy meal!

To read more about the surprising health benefits that
Banana Flowers have, please go to these links below:

Here is the video that we learned from that shows how to cut and clean the Banana Flower:


To read more about cooking with this very interesting exotic food, go to these links below:

The Montañez Family
L’Chaim Pura Vida!

Give Thanks to YHWH!

(This is an old post from our current website, we are placing it here as a backup just in case anything goes wrong with the site in the future. But if you seeing this for the first time here on this blogspot, read it as if it was written just a short time ago :)

Written July 28th, 2016

Psalms 107:31, 37-38
Let them give thanks to YHWH for His kindness, And His wonders to the children of men!
37 And they sow fields and plant vineyards, And they make fruits of increase.
38 And He blesses them, And they increase greatly; And He lets not their cattle diminish.

It really is amazing to see everything that is able to grow in a place like this. With there not really being a winter in Costa Rica you can grow things here almost all year around (except for the driest part of the dry season). A lot of what we eat comes from the farm, and it without question helps us save money as well as keep our bodies healthier since we aren’t eating nearly as much processed and chemically-sprayed fruits and vegetables.

Our Papaya tree. Did you know that not only does ripe Papaya taste good and look beautiful, but it is also high in vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients as well? Not only that, but did you also know that the leaves can be blended and made into a drinkable paste that can be used to heal dengue? (A mosquito-based virus that is very prevalent in Central America)

Look at all the Basil Plants!

Our Green Bean plant.

Not only have we seen the “fruit of the ground” here, but the “fruit of the livestock” as well! More chickens than we can count, over 25 sheep, cows, ducks, fish, etc. It’s truly amazing to see the beauty that has shown forth in this place.

This is a funny story. We were given some birds called Guinea Hens, a smaller-sized fowl
that is really good for meat. One day, we were looking outside, and we realized that
the Guineas were following the male Turkey! It’s really rather funny to see,
especially when they’re all bunched together next to the Turkey.

Yum, Green Peppers! It took us a while to get these plants to grow,
but they are now beautifully giving fruit!

Our newest cute little calf named Sparky.

Deuteronomy 28:1-4
1 “And it shall be, if you diligently obey the voice of YHWH your Elohim, to guard to
do all His commands which I command you today, that YHWH your Elohim shall
set you high above all nations of the earth.
2 “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you,
if you obey the voice of YHWH your Elohim:
3 “Blessed are you in the city, and blessed are you in the field.
4 “Blessed is the fruit of your body, and the fruit of your ground and the fruit
of your livestock – the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks.

Our Cucumber plant.

Sister Tammy and One of Our Cute Lambs Named Luci. It’s mother unfortunately does not take very good care of her, so we are giving her warm milk and lots of loving to help give her the best chance at making it. She is a beautiful little lamb(even if she does baaaaaa just like her mother… TOO MUCH!)

Our Beautiful View!

May YHWH be Praised and Glorified for all that He has done, is doing,
and will continue to do. He is our Provider, our Healer, our Giver of Life,
everything that we have is thanks to Him. HalleluYAH!

Please continue to pray for our servant Family. It is not always easy to live out
this walk, especially living in what could be considered a rather isolated place.
But on the other hand, we have seen such amazing blessings that we would
not have seen almost anywhere’s else. May YHWH be Praised!

The Montañez Family
L’Chaim Pura Vida!

Living A Life of Faith: L’Chaim Pura Vida Part 2

(This is an old post from our current website, we are placing it here as a backup just in case anything goes wrong with the site in the future. But if you seeing this for the first time here on this blogspot, read it as if it was written just a short time ago :)

Written June 16th, 2016

Part 2 of the blog our brethren from 119 Ministries wrote after their visit to the farm to meet us in person. We would like that all that we share is about others and Scriptures. Everything we do is to show the character of YHWH in righteousness and justice. It is about His will and not ours, about being doers of the Torah and not hearers only. We can not do it without prayers and support. We have seen healings, and living here is a miracle. The journey continues…

Proverbs 28:27
He who gives to the poor does not lack, But he who hides his eyes does have many curses.

Matthew 25:34-36
“Then the Sovereign shall say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the reign prepared for you from the foundation of the world – for I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’

Matthew 25:45-46
“Then He shall answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, in so far as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life.”

“In addition to the poor, fatherless and the widows, we would like to be able to bring even more blessings to those that know and respect us. Those people who know and respect us are those who we would like to bless more. Those who have defended us against the attacks from the church; they shared with us when we had only bananas to eat while we found the finances to meet the requirements to be able to apply for our visa. These people such as Eulogio and Benilda; hardworking people desiring to be a blessing to others even when they have been taken advantage of.”

To Read More, go to:

Shalom Ubrachot!
The Montañez Family
L’Chaim Pura Vida!

Pura Cocoa Vida!

(This is an old post from our current website, we are placing it here as a backup just in case anything goes wrong with the site in the future. But if you seeing this for the first time here on this blogspot, read it as if it was written just a short time ago :)

Written June 21st, 2016

We have had a very good Cocoa bean harvest this year, and we needed to do something
with the cocoa (cacao in Spanish) that we harvested. One of the ways we are able to
use it is by roasting the cocoa beans and then grinding them into powder. The idea
is to be able to include it more often in our diet, especially with the need for
nutrients like magnesium to help with calcium absorption, and with cocoa
making the top ten in magnesium content in foods, it is a very good source.

We have learned that like many other tropical fruits, the flesh around
the cacao seeds can be pressed through a strainer and made into a delicious drink.
Also, when we had visited Mexico years ago we ate something called “Mole”(Moh-leh).
It is a sauce made mainly with hot peppers and cacao that they
put on almost every dish. Feeling Mexican? Try some Mole!

Leviticus 26:3-4
“If you walk in My laws and guard My commands(Torah), and shall do them,
4 Then I shall give you rain in its season, and the land shall yield its crops,
and the trees of the field yield their fruit.”

And not only does cocoa help with calcium absorption,
it can also help in these ways as well:

1. Cocoa and chocolate can cut your rate of heart disease,
and cut the death rate of heart-attack survivors.
2. Cocoa can help decrease the risk of stroke.
3. Cocoa can decrease blood pressure, including in pregnant women.
4. Cocoa has the potential to improve kidney function.
5. The caffeine in cocoa can protect your skin against sun damage and skin cancer.
6. Older folks who eat chocolate (and wine or tea) have
higher cognitive abilities than those who don’t.
7. Consuming cocoa powder can increase cognitive function
and may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
8. Chocolate can relieve stress.
9. Eating cocoa or chocolate can increase feelings of satiety,
which can help with weight loss.
10. If you’re sick, cocoa can relieve coughs almost as well as codeine.

For more benefits from this amazing bean click below. 

The Montañez Family
L’Chaim Pura Vida!